Saturday, December 30, 2006

Year 2, Day 302: The Breakfast Rut


I've been in something of a breakfast rut, which if you've been following this blog for a long time you'll know is a frequent event. If you're not a morning person, you like things to be very automatic in the morning. Maybe if you live a life of wealth and leisure, or work in a restaurant you might have the privilege of waking up and deciding what to eat but with a house full of people to push out the door, you've literally got to get it down to a military precision. For me, the cereal breakfast is excellent because it requires no cooking and very little preparation. It can be eaten all at once (when crispy) or over a long period of time (soggier, but still good). These are important facets because eggs really should be eaten hot, like toast. I like to eat ham on toast for breakfast but by day three I don't want to any more but I feel guilty about the ham going bad so I have to finish it. Eggs are great but often require attention, which is in short supply and coordination with toast or timers (it's amazing how easily you can overcook an egg when you're mopping up Elmo Oatmeal). WIth cereal, I get the taste and the texture of a crunchy thing, which is frequently missing in a low-car diet. I get fiber. I get protein. And I stay full for a few hours. I've noticed now that I just use my hand to pour it out how much less I'm eating then when I portioned it out in a measuring cup. I guess that's one of the ways a diet can be tricky; just because you're ALLOWED to eat a cup of cereal doesn't mean you should. On the flip side, it's better to eat the allowable portion in one sitting rather than eat less, still be hungry and want to go back for seconds. Anyone who loves cereal and/or reads this blog knows that I could keep eating cereal until I looked like the cereal equivalent of Veruca Salt, who blows up like a blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or Willie Wonka, for those movie fans). On the plus side, Kashi Go Lean doesn't engender that kind of passionate seconds-seeking like Frosted Flakes, Honey Combs, Cocoa-Crispies, Kaboom!, Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries or Freakies did.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch
Fritata: Three Cheeses (Feta, 50% Jalapeno and Colby/Cheddar Mix), Cabbage, Broccoli, Red Pepper, Onions and Ham.

Dinner:
2 slices Balthazar Bread with Super Chunky Peanut Butter
two boneless spareribs
small portion of chilean sea bass

Dessert
2 bites of a sugar free pop (Magnolia made me eat it).

Still not feeling myself, but I was determined to 'eat what's in the house.' This led me, extemporaneously, to make a fritata. Now the best fritatas in the world have potatoes, but for me they're a no-no so I went with everything but. Historically, I found that except for making potato latkes for passover, potatoes nearly ALWAYS went bad in my house. I would buy them thinking of making delicious au gratins, or just simply baking them, or even boiling them with sour cream, but instead they would grow green pipe-cleaner shaped eye-attachments which I would break off during the exam that preceded my heavy sighs as I threw another wasted batch in the garbage. Because I ate such a heavy thing and so late, and because the sickness was upon me, I didn't feel much like eating. So I did the eat-standing-up thing and had a little of the take out we got for the girls.

Year 2, Day 301: Things Are Tough All Over

A tough day—I had to go into the office and have a confrontation. If you know me you know that's not my favorite thing to do. I was kind of dreading it for the few days off prior including Christmas. But now it's behind me and I can focus on the future. They say that everything that's hard for you to do is a growing experience. But as someone who grew to 226 lbs, I can tell you some of that growing is for the birds.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch
Ham & Jalapeno Cheddar Omelet

Snack
2 Clementines
A few slices of salami

Dinner/Poker
Almonds & Cashews
Boston Lite Popcorn
Pistachios
Rollmops of Roast Beef, Turkey and Corned Beef and Swiss Cheese
Salami & Muenster
Pickles
Cole Slaw
Salad

For the third poker game in a row, I have amazingly lost money. Now for about 17 years I won more than I lost but now I seem to be in a bit of a poker rut. Could be the food; could be the demon nuts, who knows? There is no doubt, as all of you already know, that I eat an irresponsible number of pistachios. They might, in fact be getting in the way of my cards, because they are so distracting. You don't believe me? I will challenge anyone who's reading this. Go somewhere and get GOOD pistachios, or almonds or cashews (don't get walnuts or pecans because they aren't eating nuts as far as I'm concerned and don't count.). Get a pound. Sit them on your desk or near your work or in your lap watching TV or whatever. Open the bag. Take one handful (about a half cup if you have regular-size hands) and eat them. Then see how long you can go without eating ANY MORE NUTS. You'll see why I call them Satan's Candy. If you can go more than 10 minutes then you're a better person than I am. Or at least you're more nut-resistant.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Year 2, Day 300: Another Landmark

Well Day 300 in year one was the day before Christmas and Emily and I were heading down to New York. The second Day 300 (is that day 665?) finds me in somewhat better shape, though worse humor. This has been a snow-deficited season and it's a bit taxing. It's one of those 'be careful of what you wish for' things. There is a lot of work to do in the new year, specifically two VERY BIG projects at work that I am in charge of and I'm concerned that I will be consumed by, but worse that I won't do it as well as I want to. Then I have several personal projects in the works at the same time, one being my nephew's bar mitzvah that's coming up in a week. There is also a lot of political stuff at work that's making me dread going back to it a bit, so I'm hoping that I can get rid of whatever sinus infection I have, play poker tomorrow, enjoy my last bit of vacation, celebrate the new year and get on with 2007.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
Ikea Muesli
A Small Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
.5 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
Ham Pieces

Lunch: BIll's
Greek Salad with Chicken and Feta and Balsamic
Cheese off a Ruby's Pizza

Dinner:
Steak
Broccoli

Having a cold is likely to strip you of your appetite, but I find that this has not necessarily been the case. I still respond to food and still want to eat lots of it all the time. This can be contrary to my goals and when even a sickness that robs you of your ability to taste things doesn't stop you, there isn't much hope. After my salad I still found it easy to finish the cheese topping off of Ruby's cheese. And in a 'acorn-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree' moment, Ruby abandoned her pizza so as to finish off her friend's pasta with butter that SHE couldn't finish.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Year 2, Day 299: Wednesday The Rabbi Caught a Cold

I realized today that the difference between a good day off and a bad day off is how you spend your time. When you get a lot of stuff done, even if it's little stuff, you can feel great. But if you squander a day, just let it get away from you, it's bad. If you plan to do nothing, it can still be good, but today sort of got away from me plus which I am coming down with a honest-to-goodness cold. I cannot remember the last time I came down with something like this. At my most dramatic, I will say that there is little in this world that is as unfair as getting a cold while on vacation.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
1.5 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
1 heel of Balthazar Bread with 1.5 oz Jalapeno Cheddar
2 oz. 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Lunch: Fuji Steak House
Sashimi Platter
Miso Soup
Salad
Edamame

Dinner
Turkey, Carrots, Celery, Onions
Cauliflower
Bubbie's Pickles
A few bites of hamburger

Today Emily and I had a lunch date in town at Fuji Steak House. It is a very nice room and it's so rare that Emily and I can really get away on a lunch date. I think that after years and years I have broken myself of my old habit—and that was to try and find the most delicious thing on the menu, and then order it. Now I feel like I just know what is the best and most appropriate thing to order by cuisine and I order it. Very often the excitement of a new cuisine and a new menu could make my head swim. Emily can attest to the fact that left to do the ordering for a crowd, I will always over-order. It's just my nature. For dinner, I continue to eat the turkey leftovers and I have to admit that they're not bad. I'm really enjoying them and I think I can make making a turkey a regular part of my routine.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Year 2, Day 298: Tuesday After Christmas

The first day after Christmas is clearly not a day to go to the mall, and especially not a good day to go to the Natick Mall of all things. I thought it would be very easy to just zip in and zip out and get a tool box that I sorely needed, but the paralyzing gridlock even a mile away from the mall was a sign that I should skip it all together. Foolishly, I ignored this sign and got trapped driving around the mall in frustration. Of course one of the great things about it being after Christmas is that Ruby did not insist on watching "Spongebob's Christmas" for the 25th time this morning. Though I was just starting to get used to it for my morning routine.

Breakfast
kashi go lean
heritage flakes
banana
blueberries
ikea muesli
unsweetened soy milk
coffee

Lunch
Turkey
String Beans
Bubbie's Pickles

Snack
1 Stick Beef Jerky
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn

Dinner:
Blue Ribbon BBQ Burnt Ends
Bubbie's Pickles
Grilled Asparagus

As it was, I did do several things I needed to do today, though working out wasn't one of them. I thought this would be a vacation of a lot of work outs, but so far it hasn't really come to pass. I did make my annual pilgrimage to Borders for discount Christmas Music, but their selection was poor and they weren't having a sale (It started a week later-Ed.). So I ended up dropping off Ruby on a play date and then taking a nice hour for myself at Newbury Comics, where I filled up my after-Christmas music stocking with lots of goodies. Amazingly, this has been a totally snow-less holiday so far.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Year 2, Day 297: Christmas

December 23, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
Do You Believe in Surnits?

By JACQUELINE WOOLLEY
Austin, Tex.

WE delight in our children’s belief in reindeer that can fly and a fat man who fits through chimneys and travels the whole world in a single night. Many children believe fiercely not only in Santa Claus but also in other fantastical beings like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy from the time they are about 3 until they are 7 or 8.

Their eager belief contributes to the common view, shared by psychologists and other scientists, that young children are credulous (and conversely, that adults are not). Children believe everything they are told, we assume, with little regard for logic, a sense of the real world or any of the other criteria adults use to debunk such fictions as the Loch Ness monster or Sasquatch.

But are children really that different from us? A study that my colleagues and I conducted at the Children’s Research Laboratory at the University of Texas suggests not. We found that, in fact, children use many of the same cues adults use to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Our experiment was designed to investigate how a young child, upon encountering a fantastical being like a unicorn in a storybook, decides whether it is real or imaginary. Adults often make the call based on context. If, for example, we encounter a weird and unfamiliar insect at a science museum, we are more likely to think it is something real than if we find it in a joke store.

To see if children could also use context in this way, we described “surnits” and other made-up things to our study group. To some of the children, we put surnits in a fantastical context: “Ghosts try to catch surnits when they fly around at night.” To others, we characterized them in scientific terms: “Doctors use surnits to help them in the hospital.”

The 4- to 6-year-olds who heard the medical description were much more likely to think surnits were real than children who were told they had something to do with ghosts. The children demonstrated that they do not indiscriminately believe everything they’re told, but use some pretty high-level tools to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

If children are so smart, why do they believe in Santa Claus? My view is that they are exhibiting their very rational and scientific cognitive abilities. The adults they count on to provide reliable information about the world introduce them to Santa. Then his existence is affirmed by friends, books, TV and movies. It is also validated by hard evidence: the half-eaten cookies and empty milk glasses by the tree on Christmas morning.

In other words, children do a great job of scientifically evaluating Santa. And adults do a great job of duping them. As we gradually withdraw our support for the myth, and children piece together the truth, their view of Santa aligns with ours. Perhaps it is this kinship with the adult world that prevents children from feeling anger over having been misled.

So maybe this holiday season, when the children come rushing in to see what Santa brought, we should revel not in their wide-eyed wonder, but in how sophisticated and clever their young minds really are.

Jacqueline Woolley is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


Breakfast
2 Soft-Boiled Eggs
2 Slices Balthazar Multi-Grain Bread
(1 with Super Chunky Peanut Butter)
3 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Lunch
Blue Ribbon Burnt Ends & Pulled Chicken
Bubbie's Pickles
Romaine/Cabbage/Feta salad with balsamic vinegar

Movie Snack
Popcorn

Dinner
Turkey
Onions/Celery/Carrots
Broccoli
Green Beans

Again, it was an adventuresome day, as Ruby and I went to see Charlotte's Web and I ventured to cook my own turkey for the VERY FIRST TIME. In all fairness, it was only the double-breast, no drumsticks or anything, it's a pretty scaled down thing. I got it at whole foods and it was about 5 pounds. I got a roasting pan and I sort of winged it. I was a little worried about the whole meat-thermometer, but it came with one (which popped up an hour before the recipe said it would be done) but it all worked out. I had seen on the Food TV Channel show "Unwrapped" where a turkey restaurant said the two key things to cooking your turkey was: cook it upside down for the majority of the time—only turn it over (breast side up) at the end to brown the skin; and two, cook it in less time than is listed. Though I didn't follow these rules closely, I can see where they might make a big difference. Surprisingly, everyone had turkey and liked it. I fortunately did not eat any of the Reese's Bites I got for Ruby at the movies, and when I got home, I wrapped up the chocolate chip cookie dough I had left over, rolled it, and put it in the freezer. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Year 2, Day 296: The Night Before


Today's Sunday Times had at least three articles about Jews who celebrated Christmas. Futher, they had a lot of articles about whether it's OK to lie to your kids about Santa. I find it amazing that we are such deep, nazel-gazing times. Life isn't more complicated then it used to be, it's just there's so much more detail available and so quickly. It seems to me that we continue to deal with the same problems when you can get enough distance to examine it properly.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 Sticks Beef Jerky
Almonds & Cashews

Lunch:
Romaine/Cabbage/Red Onion/Chicken/Feta Balsamic Vinegar

Postworkout Snack
6 oz. Plain Yogurt
4 Tablespoons Super Chunky Peanut Butter

Dinner
Steak Tips
Broccoli

Dessert
Two Chocolate Chip Cookies

Had a good workout today, though it was after lunch and that's always more difficult for me. It was a return to the JCC but I didn't notice that the new lighting (they were closed on Friday to install) was any big deal. It was the all-Christmas workout. I listened to mostly collections of Christmas songs that I have collected throughout the years and it was quite nice. Nothing bad on the news and the place was pretty empty. When I returned home I thought Ruby and I would make chocolate chip cookies for Christmas Eve. After fruitlessly searching all morning on the Ineternet, I used the recipe on the Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip bag. Though I didn't find any good recipes, I did learn a few things from the Internet about making chocolate chip cookies. 1) Double the Vanilla. This was an incredible tip, and really made a difference. 2) Subtract a teaspoon of sugar from whatever the recipe calls for. Again, this turned out to be right on the money. 3) Add salt—chocolate loves salt. Again, true true true. One thing I did follow but I'm not sure if it made a difference was " Make sure the pan is room temperature and the cookies are cold." Can't tell if this helped, and not sure how I could have done it any differently. The cookie dough (my personal favorite thing) was absolutely delicious. We all ate chocolate chip cookies and listened to the all-Christmas radio station. Though I felt guilty for a cookie I figured what the hell, it's Christmas Eve and I worked out. So I ate another one.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Year 2, Day 295: Christmakah

Today is the last night of Chanukah and the night before the night before Christmas. It's kind of a weird time because there's a lot going on but simultaneously no one's anywhere and everything is cancelled, suspended or closed. I count among my blessings the fact that my kids were fighting over a bowl of Kashi Go Lean! last night. I harken back to a time when I worried that they would eat a lot of junk and I would be helpless to stop it. Now I realize that if Emily and I model good eating behavior and don't bring a lot a garbage in the house, they'll have to do like other kids—eat their junk at school and at their friend's houses. That's what I did, anyway.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar (in new package)
Almonds & Cashews
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn
Coke Zero

Lunch
Brisket from Blue Ribbon
Romaine & Cabbage, Feta, Balsamic Vinegar
2 Shrimp

Dinner
Chicken Breast
Cauliflower
Avocado Salad

It's funny that I have had Blue Ribbon in nearly every post this week because recently Jill had told me that she though I must eat there once a week and I told her that it was more like once a month or even less. But it also goes in cycles. Sometimes the kids love it; sometimes they turn their noses up at it. You never know until you bring home the extra-large bucket of ribs which way it's going to go. That's why we got a chest freezer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Year 2, Day 294: 2nd to Last Friday Off of the Year

Today Emily and I went on a date, as nothing is happening at work (we all had the day off) and nothing is happening anywhere—except for "doorbusters" which is the offensive name for sales that start early with and are 'too good to miss.' Of all the days to have off, today was the day the JCC decided to redo their gym LIGHTING and so I was forced to go somewhere else for a workout. They had set up two alternatives—the YMCAs in Newton and Needham. I wasn't really that keen on going to either one of them but I had settled on the one in Needham because I knew how to get there and it was closer. Emily suggested I go to Wellbridge Athletic, which she joined to play tennis in April but the membership has been collecting dust (though still being paid). I took her guest pass and headed over there but they waved me in with a nod. They have all the most modern equipment in a sun-flooded room that was perfectly temperate. All the units have TV and there is an endless supply of free towels in two sizes (the JCC makes you pay $1). There were three different ellipse machines and just like Goldilocks I had to figure out which one was best for me. When I did, I realized it was going to be a much harder workout than I'm used to. It had a lower-arms setting and when I did I was VERY out of breath. I did do 60 minutes, but because I dropped my ipod, had to get rid of my gum, and accidentally hit 'end' instead of 'pause' I had to do it in three increments of 15, 38 and 7 minutes, respectively. I was huffing and puffing, and watching the clock intently, which is never a good sign. I have no idea how many miles I went because I didn't know how to work the contraption. After the workout I did three sets of 5 15-lb ab crunches on the ab-cruncher. I had to stop because I thought if I did any more the blue and pink stars around my head wouldn't go away. I met Emily and we went for a nice lunch and a movie.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Ikea Muesli
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Postworkout Snack
3 Tablespoons SC Peanut Butter
6 oz. Plain Yogurt

Lunch: The Met Bar
Greek Salad with Chicken

Movie Snack: Boston Lite Popcorn

Dinner:
Eva Chan's Spareribs
Eva Chan's String Beans and Cauliflower
Bok Choy

I don't know why, but the holidays have put me in a bad mood for some reason, even though I am enjoying them, have a lot of time off, haven't gained any weight that I know of and have gotten great gifts for my kids. Really, I have no reason to be bitter and mean and yet I am. Though it is rare that I would say anything bad about Russo's, I must say that the salad I had today at the Met Bar may have been the best salad I ever had. It was literally perfect. The lettuce, the amount of feta, the done-ness of the chicken, the red onion, it put all my best efforts to shame. I realized I was hack-of-a-salad-maker and these people were geniuses. We then went to the movies (we saw Borat) and I insisted on doing my thing, which is bringing the Boston Lite Popcorn in instead of buying it. Though most people do this for the savings, I do this to avoid the calories. Popcorn popped in coconut oil (like they do at movies) is as bad for you as you can make popcorn. It is delicious, though.

Then we had a surprise "almost last night of Chanukah" at our neighbor's house where I ate the world's best Chinese food. Crazy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Year 2, Day 293: Demon Nuts Strike Back

I did go for a walk today, thankfully. It helps because the snacking was out of control. However, as you may have read, my usual routine has been interrupted by the loss of my beloved Peter's Kitchen and replaced by the still-mysterious Crown's Kitchen. When I first walked into "Crown's", I noted several things that were different—the printed menu, the new cash register (electronic) and the absence of the main woman/hostess, whose name was Denise. She was pleasant and always remembered my name. I knew her mom and dad (Peter), too. When I first spoke to someone on the phone they told me "Denise is coming in a few days a week" but immediately upon arriving INSIDE "Crown's" I knew this was a lie designed to give Denise fans a feeling of comfort but false security. Readers, I will try to get the scoop on this overnight takeover. I don't know who's behind it or who benefitted, but rest assured, I'm on the case.

Breakfast
5 Slices of Ham
1 SLice Multigrain Balthazar Bread
Bite of Banana
Coffee

Snack
1 Extra Smokey
5 Sticks Beef Jerky
30 Pistachios
30 Almonds
.5 oz Boston Lite Popcorn

Lunch: Crown's Kitchen
Chicken Kebab Salad
Still with No Pepperconi

Dinner
Chicken Paprikash
Romaine, Cabbage & Feta Salad

Dessert
1/2 Pear (Split with Ruby & Magnolia)

Really, it's the holidays and if there are to be nuts on my desk THEY ARE GOING TO GET EATEN. It's really that simple. I don't mean to bore you with my nut obsession any more than I wish to bore you with my boring repeats of the same breakfast OVER AND OVER AGAIN, but some things are like tape loops, you just keep repeating them. For anyone reading this under 30—tape refers to magnetic strips that could be used to record things from other sources, like a phonograph hi-fi.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Year 2, Day 292: Missed Walk

For one of the first times in recent memory, I had to miss a Domania walk today because I had a preexisting engagement. I have certainly missed walks before, but today was a nice day and I was especially eager to put some miles on. Instead, I went to lunch with a corporate employee (not a Domania employee) based in Boston that's leaving the fold. We went to V Majestic, which is an incredible Vietnamese Restaurant in Allston. And just as Emily and I did so many times during our 20s, we went to Herrell's ice cream after. Despite my advice to get the chocolate pudding, my coworker got the butter pecan, even though it was a 38 degree day.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
1 Extra Smokey
4 sticks beef Jerky

Lunch: V Majestic
Broccoli & Shrimp (5 Shrimp Total)
1 Fresh Roll

Dinner
1.5 Hamburgers
Pickles
Salad
A little bit of Blue Ribbon BBQ

Made the woman at Blue Ribbon angry at me when I forgot her name. It happens to be Laura, but when I called I thought it was Lisa. When I asked if it was Lisa I got a curt "no". Then I tried again and she said "are you calling Blue Ribbon?" Caller ID has made the entire process painfully transparent, and even though Emily would say I am imagining things, I am certain Laura saw me come in and hid behind the barbecue door until I paid for my meal. Though I must say they heavily stuffed the containers of food beyond all normalcy, so that it was hard to open and close them. Well it was a lot easier to close after I opened it in the car and ate some of it. I drove home thinking "My name aphasia is getting bad in my old age."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Year 2, Day 291: All is Nothing

Today I had an old favorite for breakfast. Ham on multi-grain bread. While this is a very easy breakfast, I also find it rather unsatisfying. Today, I was driven to despair (and also, nuts) by a collision of things at work, and at home. I ate nuts like I was at a poker game. It was not pretty. The spiral of despair-to-nuts-to despair-back to nuts is infuriating. Am I to be captured in the web so easily? Answer: Yes.

Breakfast
5 slices Ham
1 SLice MultiGrain (Balthazar)

Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
40 Pistachios
40 Almonds
3 Pieces Beef Jerky
1/2 Boston Lite Popcorn

Lunch: Russo's ($5.17)
Red leaf, red onion, red pepper, broccoli, feta,
mushrooms, chicken breast, balsamic vinegar

Dinner: Turkey Crumble
Lettuce Leaves

Chocolate Turtle

Don't ask about the chocolate turtle. It came as part of a gift basket from a vendor we do business with. Fortunately, there were not many of them.

Crumble is back. After an awful episode where I nearly spilled the contents of a soy-sauce bottle into the turkey crumble while I was making it, then thought I could save it AND serve it, I returned to glory today with a humble, but excellent version of this timeless classic. Since I only have a few dishes that I can turn out reasonably well, I was worried that I might have lost my touch. No need to worry, I'm back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Year 2, Day 290: Beef Jerky's Back

First time for Beef Jerky in about a week. Right back up to four pieces. I guess old habits die hard. People often ask me about the beef jerky. It's from Buffalo BIlls (suspiciously also called ChooChooRoo Snacks). From their web site: "Introduced in 1990, our Original Hickory Beef Jerky is the product our company was founded upon. Premium, hickory smoked top round marinated in soy sauce, garlic, & black pepper." They're not long on marketing. When people learn that I eat a lot of beef jerky, they assume that I am some kind of trucker, southerner, or weirdo. I attribute this in large part to the ubiquitous presence of sub-standard jerky in just about all of the most unpleasant places in America. In fact, when it's done right, it's quite delicious, nutritious, and satisfying. There are very few people that were interested in trying it that haven't become fans. I'm warning you! It's like Green Eggs and Ham. Try it, you'll like it!
.
Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee


Lunch Crown's Kitchen
Chicken Kebab Salad with Feta


Snack
4 beef jerky
old smokey
1 oz boston lite popcorn
30 pistachios

Dinner
Chicken Breast
Salad

"The only thing inevitable in life is change," the saying goes, and that's never truer than when one is faced with your typical urban square. I work in Watertown Square, and though it may connote visions of an exciting, urban center laced with great shops and places to eat, it is in fact, a lonely, poorly designed, traffic nightmare littered with sketchy, oft-closed stores and mysteriously empty eateries. Between those places there are a few places to eat, some of which we happy few at Domania have come to love, or at least regard as suitable. Certainly Peter's Kitchen fell into that category for me, because the previous owners of the place ran a not very impressive coffee shop with an even less impressive name: "Why Not?"

On the other hand, Peter's Kitchen was very nice. Though I have written about their 'poor man's salad', it was an embarrassment of salad—easily two pounds of salad. They really laid it on, and it had gotten to the point where I could just call and they would say "The usual?" and I would say "Yep," and that was it. It's a good feeling to be known, but that feeling disappeared when one day, almost without anyone noticing—they came under new ownership. No information is available about why they changed or who on God's Green Earth thought "Crown's Kitchen" was a better name than "Peter's Kitchen." It boggles the mind, really. With great suspicion I ordered the salad and naturally they got it wrong—no pepperocini. In addition, the salad was noticeably smaller and had no carrots, fewer olives and no cucumbers. I'm not sure I missed those things, but I did notice they were gone. I suppose the 'crown' needed them for something else.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Year 2, Day 289: Back to the Gym

It was another unbelievable December day where we were all able to go out with a just a sweatshirt on. It's great for us. It's always good when you can spend time outside because that time is usually spent moving around and burning calories. It's also so much better for the kids, who get really cranky by the second month of being house-bound.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
A Small Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
6 oz. Plain Yogurt
4 Tablespoons Chunky Peanut Butter
a few hot dog bites

Postworkout Lunch
2 Eggs (over easy)
2 Slices Balthazar Bread
4 oz. 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
1 Coke Zero

Dinner
93% SIrloin Burger
Greek Salad (Romaine, Cabbage, Feta, Red & Yellow Peppers, Balsamic Vinegar)

Dessert
A few squares of chocolate

Still not feeling 100% made the gym workout hard but when I went (1:00pm) meant no one was there and I had the place to myself. I was watching a show called Extreme Quest about people who walk, bike, swim and boat across Utah and the Moab dessert. It was inspirational, but not pretty. These people are falling down from dehydration, walking on bloody stumps of feet, becoming delirious and just simply, collapsing. Though I was in air-conditioned gym, I certainly felt my share of my aches and pains; it took me 70 minutes to do my six miles and the last .5 miles was pretty tough going. It's been a while since I felt I was going to have a heart attack, but today was a return to form.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Year 2, Day 288: Chanukah, Day Two

After a big night of eating and festivity the only sensible thing to do is to try and eat responsibly. However, that plan is out because we plan to celebrate Chanukah with my brother and his family and my mom by going out to a lavish dinner at Legal Seafoods in Peabody. I try to get to the gym but this is unrealistic given the laundry list of things we have to accomplish in the day. Instead, I ply myself with the usual Saturday routine of taking Ruby to gymnastics, then trying to get her to eat, then on to the next thing, and then trying to get ready for our evening out. Of course, we have to wrap and remember the gifts before we go.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
A Small Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 oz. 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
1 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
4 oz. Cashews/Almonds
Coffee

Lunch
Chicken Thighs
Cauliflower
Hot Dog BItes

Dinner: Legal Seafoods
Shrimp Cocktail
Rainbow Trout
Broccoli
Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinegar
a bite of: fried calamari
one mussel au gratin (no au gratin)
one fried shrimp (fried bits removed)

It has been written here before, and by many other better writers in this field. Holidays are tough, and they're tough for three reasons. One, there is pressure to eat. ("Come on, enjoy yourself! It's Christmas, Chanukah, New Year's! Live a little! We're all here together.") Two, there is opportunity to eat. (Holiday gatherings revolve around food and liquor, and yes, sometimes presents and dessert). And three, there is REASON to eat. (My relatives/friends/coworkers are driving me to this Double-Chocolate Mousse Cake!). These things get played out over and over again for about four weeks. The best thing you can do is try not take one deep dive as an excuse to spend the rest of December in the pool of bad eating decisions. Once you're in, you can get out just as easily and get back on the right track. Going to the gym makes up for a lot, but not all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Year 2, Day 287: The Morning After

I'm not sure why, but I could not sleep for the life of me. I woke up at 2:30 and I was itchy. Couldn't sleep, kept scratching. Eventually I went downstairs and watched television ("Unwrapped.") It's been months and months since I had to come downstairs to watch TV to get back to sleep. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the outcome of the ZBA meeting—we lost—and probably just decompressing. On top of that, I am still not quite right in the stomach. Every time I passed the coffee maker I was thinking "I wish I could just start my day now instead of going back to sleep." Eventually I got back to sleep but it was a hard, hard night.

Breakfast
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Muesli
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch: MidWest Grill
Beans
Mesclun Greens
Olives
Sausage
Chicken Breast
Roast Beef
Kielbasa
1 Bite of Cheesecake with Strawberries

Dinner
Sashimi
Pickled Ginger
Edamame
2 Glasses Red Wine

Dessert
2 Triangles of Chocolate

Today was a BIG BIG eating day. The biggest in a long while. I ate a lot of meat, the most dessert ever, and wine. In a way it was a kind of a celebration, as the ZBA and that whole deal is behind me (unless I decide to appeal); I finished my Holiday shopping list; there was just a lot to do and most of it is done and I was glad to unwind. I think I was probably VERY cranky at the table, but everyone has their days like that, don't they?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Year 2, Day 286: The ZBA Meeting

This morning was sort of a make-or-break day. I had to get up, finish my presentation, send it off to a whole bunch of folks, get final feedback, get it to the printer before 8:30AM. Then I had to get both kids off to school and be at a meeting of my company's ad agency by 9:30AM. Then it was work all day. Then come home, eat (if in the mood) and immediately get over to the Needham Public Library for a meeting to discuss a large scale luxury project scheduled to be built 50 feet from my backyard's property line. To say that I was STRESSED out would be an understatement. I was a stress ball. I was actually glad that I didn't feel like eating that much because I tend to get nauseous when under intense pressure. Because the folks at my local print shop agreed to do this rush big-color presentation for Beer, I had to stop on my way back from the ad agency meeting at a liquor store to get their beer for them. I realize it's an unorthodox trade, but it is nearly Christmas. The liquor store has a deli and they make their own their turkey, so I ordered a turkey sandwich on wheat with nothing but pickles. They had to ask me a few times if that's what I wanted because I suppose no one has ever ordered a plain turkey sandwich before. The traditional offering there is mayonnaise, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I guess they don't count a lot of old Jewish folk as their customers. I asked for 'salt.'

Breakfast
2 Eggs, 1 Yolk
Balthazar Bread
Coffee

Snack
Medium Dunkin Donuts Decaf
6 oz vanilla yogurt

Lunch
Open faced turkey sandwich

Dinner
Breast of chicken

Amazingly, after nearly sixteen months of discussion, back and forth and deliberation, it all came down to this one meeting, and as I was to learn WAY too late, it didn't even come down to this meeting because it was patently obvious that every important decision had already been made prior to us showing up. I'm not sure that we couldn't have changed minds if we had delivered a "And Justice for All" kind of closing speech, but going up against a well-funded and well-run Developer, in a council room full of lawyers (the ZBA) us regular neighborhood folk didn't have a chance. It seems so obvious now, but at the time it seemed like going in full of sound and fury would be a good idea. Luckily, I didn't say anything that wasn't true or that I was ashamed of, and I guess I did well because the head of the development asked me to autograph one of my presentation cards. It was a hollow piece of flattery of course, because they got everything they wanted and we went home with our tail between our legs. I wonder if it would have been different if I had been present at the last, most important ZBA meeting, not in North Carolina at a company meeting. That will have to a speculation for the ages, though because the construction will be starting in March. Sigh.

Year 2, Day 285: Sickness Continues

By the time this particular round of illness made it to me it was bad but not quite as bad as it had been for any of the other members of my family. While I was "sickened" I mostly felt tragically unwell but there was no culmination of any kind. It continues to be a challenge to imagine, then create food that I think I can eat. Whether or not it is appealing is a whole other issue.

Breakfast
2 Eggs
1 Slice Balthazar Multi-grain bread
Coffee

Lunch:
6 oz. Vanilla Yogurt
1 Slice "Health" Bread
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Bites Cantaloupe

Dinner:
1 Breast of Chicken

The great thing about not having processed food in your house is that when you want to eat something you have to make it. So I decided to get a chicken breast and broil it. I have to say it was pretty good, and that's a sign that I'm coming out of this thing. The other thing that has not been helping is that I have been prepping for my "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" moment in local politics and it's not going that well. It's not exactly a great time to be sick. But when is a great time to be sick?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Year 2, Day 284: Robert Gets Sick

I suppose it was inevitable that I get this stomach virus that's going around. And here I thought I wasn't going to get it because Magnolia, Emily and Ruby had gotten it and I was taking care of all of them and not having a problem. Not so fast, Smith. I had a bad night last night and this morning went to work but after a few hours realized I couldn't hack it and went home.

Breakfast
1 Slice Balthazar Multigrain bread
Coffee

Lunch
6 oz Vanilla Yogurt

Other:
7 Kedem Tea Cookies
Tea with honey

Dinner
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 Slice Multigrain bread

Is it sick to wonder if you will lose weight when having a stomach illness? I really was just thinking that it's hard to nurse yourself back to health on starchy foods and stay on your diet. The truth is that some of the Whole Foods offerings are not all that appetizing to an unsettled stomach. I made an exception today and had Vanilla yogurt, with its high sugar and carbohydrate count. It was about the most SoBe friendly thing I could stomach that wasn't made of flour.

Year 2, Day 283: Monday with Sick Kids

So there is a long story with the allergist, but what's important to know is that it got to like a Seinfeld-level of comedy that we couldn't cancel the appointment even though we didn't think it was necessary to go. Emily had previously gotten into hot water with that office for scheduling, then canceling, then crying desperation, then making, and canceling a few successive appointments. We were basically on their shit list. Additionally, we had a problem with them because there was a short-tempered nurse who dismissed Ruby (as a 3-year old) when she couldn't use the inhaler. If you know any three year olds or how to use an inhaler, you'll know why the nurse should have had more patience. After all was said and done, I think we were glad we did go. He disagreed with our pediatrician's assessment of Ruby's condition and told us what to do. That gave me hope because nothing up till that point was helping. Even if the treatment doesn't help, I had to acknowledge that the way they test kids is novel, and very appropriate. They have you blow into a tube attached to a computer that has pictures of birthday candles. What kid doesn't want to blow out birthday candles? Ruby was talking about it all the way home and asked if we could 'get that game on our computer.' It's one of those moments as a parent that you laugh and mumble something under your breath, try to change the subject and hope your kid sees a bright shiny object.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
A Small Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack:
1 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
3 Sticks Beef Jerky

Lunch:
Hamburger
Cabbage Salad

Dinner
Mini-Brussel Sprouts
Steak Tips with Onions

By the time I got home I had to face the fact that I was sick. When you live in a multi-person household you always think you can avoid it. I did for quite a while, but then it looks like the virus was hitting people in a linear style, not all at once. Whatever it is, I have it now and I have had to take to bed. More later.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Year 2, Day 282: Ruby Throws Up

Having kids definitely has its downsides and whenever your kid is hurt, sad or kneeling over a toilet it's a good time to reflect on the genuine pleasures of being a parent. As usual, we have no idea what caused this spout of nausea but it follows quite a few days of other-bodily sickness and we all struggled to get through the day as a very sick, very televison-watching, and very bed-ridden family. Needless to say there was no gym time for me which was disappointing but I sure know where my priorities are.

Breakfast (when I thought I was going to the gym)
Heritage Flakes
Ikea Meusilix
Blueberries
Banana
Coffee
Unsweetened Soy Milk

Lunch
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 Small Slice Balthazar Bread
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
More coffee

Snack
1.5 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
A few handfuls of Almonds & Cashews

Dinner
Chicken-Thigh Soup with Carrots, Onions
17 Whole Foods Wheat Thins
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

I went to my local supermarket today to get a few supplies for all the sick people at my house (Emily also with the stomach bug). So I went to better my supply of 'sick food'—saltines, graham crackers, applesauce, you know. I was shocked and dismayed to find that Sudbury Farms, unlike the surprisingly better stocked Star/Shaw's, does not carry many foods that are FREE from partially hydrogenated oils. Since I was with Magnolia and only had so much leeway, I could not go to another market (plus the drive would have ruled it out alone—I would have had to go to Chestnut Hill for the nearest, and not very good Star Market). I would have gone to whole foods but I wanted to get ginger ale—Canada Dry—and while I was buying stuff that I will certainly throw out once everyone is better, I was wondering about the sense of that trip. Sure, the Whole Foods ginger ale is three times as expensive and tastes bad—but is that what's important? I mean, here I am trying to get something that my recently-toilet-bound daughter's stomach can tolerate and I'm telling her that she should put this crap (partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour and more) in her body? I swear to you all that I am writing a letter to the management of the Sudbury Farms. I don't mind that they sell junk—that's the American Way. But they should offer an alternative. The brand that I bought—"Premium" (by Nabisco) is loaded with junk but I thought the other brand "Krispy" (by Sunshine, now by Keebler, which was purchased by Kellog's) was free of that junk, but I was wrong. I thought there was a third brand, but unless I go to a well-stocked market, I won't be able to tell you. In any case, the crackers without that junk are just as good and if you're old enough to read this, you know that those crackers didn't have that stuff in it twenty years ago.

From Wikipedia: In the United States, the word "Saltine" was originally registered as a trademark by Nabisco, but it lost trademark protection after the term began to be used generically to refer to similar crackers. In Australia, Arnott's Biscuits Holdings still holds a trademark on the name "Saltine".

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Year 2, Day 281: The Night Before Sickness

Saturday after poker, a tradition, like the day after New Year's Eve for some people. I don't drink, I don't eat too badly and I don't even inhale anything. So why am I so tired and worn out? Well, usually it's from a marathon day, up at 6:45ish and to bed at about 2:30am. It's hard to go to bed when I get home from the game, I'm usually pretty wound up, which is surprising because we're really just sitting around, playing cards, and eating nuts. What's so exciting about that? Yet every time after a game it's like after a long car trip—you're excited to be home, and attacked by competing desires to lay down and rest and to get busy doing whatever it is you think you need to be doing now that you're back at home. We've tried to leave earlier but that takes a discipline that's hard to find, and very hard to practice. So Emily lets me sleep mostly, which is a very, very nice thing to do.

Breakfast
Ikea Muesli
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch:
Salad
Chicken Thighs
Feta, Cabbage, Balsamic

Snack
1 Pink Lady Apple

Dinner
Tequila Shrimp
Guacamole
2 oz. 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
A few bites of hamburger
a few bites of dirty brown rice

I bought Muesli at Ikea and started using it on my cereal in the morning. It's quite good, though slightly higher in calories, carbs and sugars than Kashi Go Lean! but it contains fruits and it's pretty good tasting, I would highly recommend it to people who are looking for alternative things to eat in the morning. For dinner we got a 'surprise' delivery from our next door neighbor of dinner from "Let's Dish." If you're not familiar with that it's a store that claims you can make dinner without going to the grocery store (but neglecting to say that you have to go to "let's dish.") To quote their Web site:

"Imagine making nutritious, restaurant-caliber meals your family loves – with no trips to the grocery store, no time-consuming preparations, and no messy clean-up – all for LESS per serving than it costs to buy take-out or fast food. Oh, did we mention you can do it in less than two hours?
Let's Dish! is an innovative store where you can make (or pick up) family-friendly dishes designed to be frozen and cooked when you need them. Unlike frozen food from the grocery aisle, these dishes taste fresh and homemade – because they are."

Anyway, the problem for me with Let's Dish is that everything is made with either sugar, carbs, or both. So "Tequila Shrimp with Dirty Rice" has everything so naturally I was less than enthused about eating it. Does anyone like Tequila so much that they want to eat it without its pleasant mind-numbing effects? And no worm? Anyway, I skipped the 'dirty rice' and I was fine, but Emily felt bad and never recovered. Of course, seen now over a few days we know that she probably got whatever Magnolia had, but it was looking pretty bad for the dirty rice for a while....

Year 2, Day 280: Poker and Ikea


Worked out today, going six and one quarter miles in sixty minutes flat. I came home and had a snack, but despite my protestations, Emily and I join an old friend of ours in a trip to Ikea. Now, I like Ikea and all, but I think that should be used for team-building exercises. That store is so out of control I'm not sure where to start. First of all, the layout is an ADD nightmare. I said to Emily that if that the Internet was organized like Ikea there wouldn't be any Internet millionaires. People are falling over with sensory overload and distraction when they enter the store. They don't know what to think. Is this all the chairs? What am I looking at? What will I see? Will I have a chance to come back before I am sucked into the vortex of meatballs and lingonberry sauce? There is no doubt that Ikea are geniuses at selling meatballs and lingonberry sauce—and I know they make lots of money—but I bet they could make more if they arranged the things more according to the way Americans like to see things. Like all the frozen food in the frozen food aisles. All the bread in the bread aisle. No, using the grocery model, Ikea has a different MEAL on display in every nook, corner and cranny of their store. So you're basically trying to find pasta not in the pasta AISLE but being used in a pasta MEAL. That's just CRAZY. After they've sucked you into lunch (or dinner), you go to 'housewares'. I was surprised that the meatballs were surprisingly not bad for you—I thought they would be loaded with bread and sugar but they have 9G of fat, made of beef and pork and very low in carbs. After housewares there's the 'do it yourself warehouse' and then MORE FOOD. I tell you that Ikea was more like a workout than my workout. I was exhausted, $200 poorer and carrying a frozen batch of meatballs.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Postworkoutsnack
1 Small SLice Balthazar Bread
1 Hard Boiled Egg
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Lunch: Ikea
Poached Salmon Salad
Mesclun Greens
Lemon Slices
1 Swedish Meatball (No gravy, no lingonberry sauce)

Mid Day-Preconference
1 Small Pear
2 Handfuls Heritage Flakes

Poker/Dinner
Almonds & Cashews
Pistachios
Boston LIte Popcorn

Chinese Food:
Kung Pao Chicken
Moo Shi Pork (+2 Pancakes)
Szechwan Pork
Beef with String Beans
Shrimp & Lobster Sauce
Boneless Spare Ribs

For the last two poker games I have gorged on nuts AND lost a lot of my money at the table. That is not good. But on the other hand there is no doubt that we have made the card game healthier over all. On top of that, we did get the order down by over $20 from last month. One of the players was worried that wouldn't be ENOUGH—but they were wrong. Everyone had seconds (including me) and there was still some left (that I ate while others were eating ice cream). At least I avoided the ice cream. And I know that no matter how bad I did, it's still just a bad night at dinner. I know I'm not doing myself any harm, and more importantly, I don't have heartburn when I go to bed like I used to. And that was constant—I mean every single Thursday night it was with the Tums. For more on that go here http://sobediet.blogspot.com/2006/02/day-341-poker-game.html

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Year 2, Day 279: Magnolia Threw Up

Throwing up is never fun, though it is sometimes good and good for you. Don't worry, I'm not bulimic, it's just that Magnolia had thrown up this morning when I went to get her. Very unsettling. I immediately got her into the tub with bubbles and eventually she ate a banana and we got on with her morning. I don't think she was sick or anything; it was probably just too much food eaten yesterday—maybe one too many bites of pork. Anyway, we took it easy on her today and I trust she'll be back to normal soon. But there's nothing like cleaning up someone else's food (even if it is your progeny) to make you lose your appetite. And I mean all day. That's not to say I didn't eat—but there were very few hunger pangs.

Breakfast
2 Soft Boiled Eggs
1 Slice Balthazar Bread
Coffee

Snack
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn

Lunch
Peter's Kitchen
Chicken Kebab Salad

Dinner:
A little bit of chicken thigh
Salad with Tuna and Feta

We did go for a walk today. I thought that would help clear my head and stomach from the thought of vomit. And it did. Then it was a seven pound salad for lunch. Amazingly, for the second night in the row, I have had the same thing for dinner as I have had for lunch. I can have salad for lunch and dinner now, even in winter. I like salad. I depend on salad. I'm not sure what I would do without salad. It's amazing that at one time a chief rationalization for not going on a diet was that "I couldn't eat that much salad." It's true. I think I actually said that out loud. An old friend of mine and Emily's was in town recently and was reliving a conversation where she suggested I work out in the gym and I scoffed. "I'm proud of my scoffing," I said. "It was who I was." It's true. I couldn't have gone to the gym back then, because I was too ignorant and afraid. Plus I didn't care about myself. Sure glad that period of my life is over.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Year 2, Day 278: Unsatisfying Excursion to Allston

As readers of this blog know, I have been taking excursions with the Domania gang to Allston to try out new restaurants. A few weeks ago, we were seeking Korean BBQ and so I looked it up on Chowhound and Yelp (two good sites to look at if you're looking for real opinions about restaurants). I didn't find what I was looking for but I found a lot of nice comments about a restaurant called "Colors." Now I regard "Colors" as a rather poor choice for a name for a restaurant, but I didn't let that deter me. I suggested we go there, and the gang, eager for good new eats and new untried ethnic cuisines, was quick to agree. Sadly, it did not go well. It was not a disaster, meaning the food was inedible; slimy; horrific; or gristle-laden; but everything was deep fried. The menu was strange. Everything on it was either deep-fried or covered in gloopy sauces that were actually russian dressing. The "sides" came in bowls that one usually associates with keeping one's earring posts in. The sausage appetizer was made from ingredients that no one at the table could identify. And believe me, the people at the table had been to a lot of different countries, and tasted a lot of different foods. After one or two bites, no one wanted to try to identify the sausage ingredients anymore. I was almost certain that rice was one of the ingredients, which would have been enough for me to stop eating it if the absolutely toungue-depressing flavor hadn't already.


Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
heritage flakes
banana
blueberries
unsweetened soy milk
coffee

Lunch: Colors / Korean Restaurant:
sausage of unknown ingredients
Deep fried pork cutlet
cabbage with russian dressing
1 deep fried won-ton
kim chee
bean curd
egg
sprouts
tea

Dinner:
Pork Cutlet
Cabbage
Asparagus

Then I got home and it was more pork. I thought "I am eating a lot of pork tonight." After the kids ate dinner, they found that they liked the pork, but unfortunately I deemed that what was left was not cooked properly. So Emily, who lives with my neurosis, cooked it up some more and the kids ate it up. I remember thinking "I wonder if eating this much pork is a good thing?" It turned out that it was not.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Year 2, Day 277—Restraint Finally Shown at Chinese Rest.

Yesterday a co-worker insisted I try eggs from Marino's Lookout Farm in Natick, MA. Of course those who are long-time readers of this blog know that eggs play a large part in my oeuvre. So I tried them. To his credit, they were just as advertised, creamy and delicious, and by far better softer and tastier than other eggs I have eaten recently. So now I am going to have to go to Owen's (a nearby poultry farm) to see if their eggs are any better. I will not back down from a challenge.

Breakfast
2 Soft-Boiled Eggs from Marino Farms
1 Slice Balthazar Multi-Grain
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
Coffee

Snack
Medium Dunkin Donuts Coffee
4 Pieces of Beef Jerky
1 Extra Smokey

Lunch: Chan Shin Wan
Hot and Sour Soup
Moo Shi Pork
Chun King Chicken

Dinner
Cabbage & Avacado Salad
Chicken a la Emily
A few bites of hamburger
Broccoli
Asparagus

For the first time in...well, ever I left a Chinese Restaurant without cleaning my plate. It took all the will power I had but I managed to leave without that last mooshi pancake and without the last few bites of Chun King pork that were rightfully and deliciously mine. I didn't want to leave them, but I knew that I was full and that eating any more was just silly and a waste.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Year 2, Day 276: The 40th Almond...

...is the almond that accompanies shame, disappointment and failure down your throat. It's also the hobgoblin of anxiety. There is no good reason to keep almonds on your desk if you occasionally will have to stay late because a very important project takes much longer than you thought it would. It's that kind of project that drives you into the arms of the almonds. Even the unsalted ones are so good. And here it is, poker week, and I'm trying to resist. I'm trying to be good and stay inside of the confines, but it was a five-beef jerky day. Wow, I mean does that say it all or what?

Breakfast
Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
1 Small Banana
1 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
5 Sticks Beef Jerky
40 Almonds

Lunch: Russo's ($5.37)
Romaine, red leaf, red pepper, red onion
pepperocini, feta, broccoli, mushrooms,
TUNA, balsamic vinegar

Dinner:
Chicken Paprikash (a la Maria)
Bok Choy (a la Emily)

Today there was no CHICKEN at Russo's. I think that there should be a sign up at the parking lot saying "no chicken" so we don't even have to come into the parking lot. It is very disheartening to find not an empty chicken bin—or even a slightly picked over chicken bin, possibly meaning that there will be more chicken soon—but the place where chicken usually is replaced by Tuna. Now I like Tuna (as does Ruby, who eats it three times a week, in violation of many experts' safety opinion vis-a-vis mercury poisoning) but just like coke tastes bad when you think you're going to drink orange soda, Tuna is no replacement for chicken. Whatever. I made do. That's what I do.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Year 2, Day 275: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

We have a lot of bananas at my house. Someone is eating a banana nearly every day or even multiple people in a single day. We used to buy just one bunch but it wasn't enough. In the summer, the fruit flies made it challenging to keep bananas in the house (I'm open to suggestions). We had to alternate between keeping them in the fridge (which speeds up their browning); in the cabinet (which focuses all fruit-fly attention in the cabinet, causing a disturbance whenever opened) or keeping them in zip-loc bags. None of these are fool-proof, but we're a high banana-use house as I mentioned. Fortunately for us, bananas pretty much taste the same year around and so there isn't that Strawberry-Apple-Corn problem. Because of my exposure to so many bananas, I am always eager to make something with bananas. Making something with bananas almost always means baking and making anything for kids almost always means chocolate. So there you go. My quest to find the best banana chocolate chip muffin recipe was long-standing. Book after book, web site after web site, parent after parent was queried but yesterday I found a eyebrow-raising suggestion that I tried and it's great. (I warn you, this is unsettling) The substitution of mayonnaise for eggs, butter and/or oil. In the recipe at iChef, there was a very simple recipe. (http://www.ichef.com/include/recipe_fullpage.cfm?itemid=85590&recipeid=85246) I thought— mayonnaise? In baked goods? Then it hit me—of course, mayonnaise! Just because we think of it as savory doesn't mean anything—it's made of oil, eggs, lemon juice and/or vinegar. I'd put those things in a baked good without question. And so I did. I sat Ruby on the counter with the task of mashing the bananas and pouring everything. She did a great job. Baking time was 15 minutes (they need to sit a little because they are so moist they are nearly—but not—unstable). For the first time in about six baking sessions, she actually liked what we made and didn't want me to take them to to work. Emily and I each had one, and didn't need to eat from lunch time until dinner. I thought that was in part because they were made with whole wheat and a lot of bananas. I did the math— they were about 284 calories each, with 34g of Carbs. I did not calculate the sugars or other stuff, because some of the math was honestly vexing me. But at that ratio, it's about the same as a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch or 1 cup of Grape Nuts with milk. They were YUMMY. Mayonnaise. Bananas. Go figure.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
1 Small Banana
1 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch
Robert's Turkey Crumble
Lettuce Wraps

Snack
1 (more or less) Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffin
A few bites of Magnolia's Popcorn

Dinner: Skipjacks
Lobster (minus one claw, which Emily ate)
Skimpy salad
Cole Slaw
Some of Ruby's hamburger pieces

Today I went to the gym and arrive late, around 10:42. I usually try to get there and sign up for two spots (you are supposed to limit yourself to 30 minutes max) but a lot of people were watching, so I just signed up for one— at eleven to eleven thirty. Because of this, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish my workout since it takes about 60 minutes to complete. For this reason, I need two segments but starting at that off hour, I would have to be in three different ones. To compensate, I tried to go a lot faster and as a result I went seven miles (a new record) in sixty-one minutes. As another plus, I didn't have a between breakfast and lunch snack today, so I thought the muffins would be OK, though I realize that eating them makes me feel bad, even though creating them makes me feel good. Ah the torment of the artist!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Year 2, Day 274: Saturday After the End

Up early this AM, trying to get back on the so-called horse. Not that easy since I ended the day with more chocolate squares, a sign of two things for certain—one: I am not in control of myself and two: I need to remove the chocolate from my house in alternate manner beside eating it. Whenever I sense I'm teetering, I go back to the turkey bacon. It has a grounding effect on me. It reminds me of who I am, and what I'm doing. It's sometimes easy to lose track of that over a few mistakes, that turn into a few meals, that turn into a few days, that turn into the wreck of your diet plan.

Breakfast
3 Strips Turkey Bacon
2 Soft-Boiled Eggs
1 Slice Balthazar Bread
Coffee

Lunch:
Turkey
Salad (Celery, Peppers, Romaine, Feta, Balsamic)

Snack
Popcorn

Dinner
Turkey Crumble
Lettuce Leaves

Dessert
4 Squares of Green & Black Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar

I know a lot of people have a relationship with the Food Network TV channel, and I am no different. I started watching it back in the 90s before Emeril had gone live. I am not a big fan of celebrity chefs, but I do LOVE a show called "Unwrapped," even though it could be a lot better than it is. The holiday episode I was watching recently detailed the Swiss Colony's offering of a Yule Log " They describe it as "Moist chocolate cake...layered with both smooth butter creme and velvety-rich chocolate fudge filling...rolled up and iced by hand with chocolate icing." What they should really say is that it's a very expensive YODEL. They sell thousands and thousands of them every year, and they have to actually start during the summer to make sure they have enough in stock. I was really shaking my head over that one. I went on the site to look around and found that the successful sales the Yule Log has driven them to expand their 'log' product line, starting with the horrifying "Seafood Cheese Log" and possibly even worse "Sugar Free Pumpkin Log."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Year 2, Day 273: This is the End

Well it's not really the end but I did eat three handfuls of cashews and almonds, followed by six squares of Green and Black chocolate after dinner today. That's not entirely good, and it doesn't make me feel that good afterwards, even though I liked it a lot as I was eating it. Today, my Russo's salad came to nearly seven dollars. A co-worker said it was a "desperate cry for help." He might be onto something there.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Blueberries
Banana
Heritage Flakes
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Lunch: Russo's ($6.73)
Romaine, Red Leaf, Red Pepper, Red Onion
Feta, Chicken, Broccoli, Mushrooms
Balsamic Vinegar

Dinner:
Scallion-Swordfish
Asparagus

Dessert
3 Handfuls of Nuts
6 Squares of Green Black Espresso Dark Chocolate (110 Calories)


From The South Beach Diet Newsletter:
Starting the South Beach Diet® at Holiday Time

If you're thinking of starting the South Beach Diet® during the holidays, here's some advice you won't want to miss. According to Dr. Arthur Agatston, preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Diet®, the holiday season — with its endless parties and goodies — is a challenging time to try to change the way you eat ... but it's not impossible.

If you're determined to start your journey toward a healthy lifestyle now, Dr. Agatston recommends starting in Phase 2 and going back to Phase 1 after New Year's.

For the next couple of weeks, you will be surrounded by temptations in the form of highly processed carbs, such as sugary cookies, buttercream cakes, and other holiday treats, explains Dr. Agatston. "By starting the South Beach Diet® in Phase 2, you can allow yourself occasional indulgences, as well as a glass or two of wine (or another South Beach Diet®-approved cocktail) along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins that are the staples of the South Beach Diet®. Then, once the New Year comes, you can start following Phase 1, which is particularly good for people who have a lot of weight to lose or who are experiencing cravings. Or, you can remain in Phase 2, where you can expect to lose weight at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Year 2, Day 272—2006: A Skin Oddity/Detecto Says 176

Last night Ruby developed some kind of skin oddity that sent Emily and I to call the pediatrician. Now we are pretty slow to call the pediatrician but we were both a bit worried/flumoxed by this development. We decided she needed to see the today (Thursday) so I had to go to work late, which was a bummer because this was going to be the only walkable day of the week (besides Monday, which was the first day back after a long holiday). As it turned out, one of our co-workers was celebrating a birthday so everyone went for Sushi but I made lunch for me and Ruby at home. Since she wasn't contagious (said the Doctor), after lunch I dropped her back at school and went to work.
Breakfast
2 Not Quite Soft-boiled Eggs
1 Slice Balthazar Multi-Grain
Coffee *yum*

Snack
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn
2 oz 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar
4 Beef Jerky Sticks

Lunch:
Hamburger
Cabbage/Lettuce Salad with Feta
Balsamic Vinegar

Dinner:
Almonds & Cashews
Chicken Fingerlings
Cabbage
String Beans

Dessert
4 Squares Green & Black Chocolate

At the Doctor's office, I weighed myself again. Sure enough, their Detecto says 176 lbs. Pretty amazing. Because of this revelation, I treat myself to some cashews and almonds when I get home, as well 4 squares of Green & Black chocolate after dinner. Now I don't like to get into the whole dessert thing because it's hard to stop once you're in the mode, but
I have been very hungry upon arrival home lately. Part of this is psychological because if you can just stop eating long enough so that your body realizes it's full, you can stop eating, but if you just keep going, you can really cram a lot in there that you don't need.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Year 2, Day 271: Indian Dhabra

A bunch of coworkers have been setting out to remote locales in search of cheap, fast and good food. Today we were planning on Korean BBQ but were fouled up when the restaurant's hours were discovered to be 3pm-10pm. As a backup, we went to Indian Dhrba, a "Road Side" Indian restaurant. One of team who is Indian, led us in the ordering and determined that the Indo-Chinese food was for us. The food (excepting the soups, which were watery and tasteless, even after the addition of salt and pepper) was excellent, but sadly, most of it was deep fried and featured peas. So even though I avoided the rice (for which I endured countless stares of resigned disbelief) it still was in the South Beach 'loss' column.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Blueberries
Banana
Heritage Flakes
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
1 oz Boston Lite Popcorn
3 Sticks Beef Jerky
1 Extra Smokey
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar


Lunch: Indian Drba
Dal (Chicken Soup with Lentils)
Chili Chicken (with and without gravy, which is tomato sauce)
Chicken Manchurian
Murgh Mutter Masalewala (Boneless chicken with multer in a special spicy curry sauce)
Baingan Bharata
(Fresh eggplant baked in an open flame, cooked with onions and spices)

Dinner
Chicken a la Emily
Emily Leeks
Peppadews
2 Bites of a Hot Dog that Ruby Didn't Eat

NEW YORK, Dec 5 (Reuters) - New York City's board of health on Tuesday voted to phase out most artificial trans fats from restaurants, forcing doughnut shops and fast-food stands to remove artery-clogging oils from their cooking.

The law will require McDonald's and other fast-food chains that have not already eliminated trans fats to do so by July 2007. They will be given a three-month grace period before facing fines.

Makers of doughnuts and other baked goods will be given until July 2008 to phase out trans fats.

"We know that trans fats increase the chance of heart attack, stroke and death, and they don't have to be there," New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden told a news conference after the vote.

Trans fats increase those health risks by increasing bad cholesterol and reducing good cholesterol.

Frieden said that New York City expects to withstand any lawsuits challenging the ban, and said the action was well within the jurisdiction of the board of health.

"People are no longer dying of typhoid fever. They are dying of heart disease," Frieden said.

In a separate vote, the board of health also ordered restaurants to standardize how they display the number of calories in dishes on their menus in an effort to combat obesity.

That law, to take effect July 1, applies to restaurants that already report the calorie counts and requires them to display the numbers on menus and menu boards. It is expected to affect about 10 percent of New York City restaurants, including many fast-food establishments.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Year 2, Day 270: Twinkies and Meat and Fisticuffs at Russo's


Came across this book in my travels. I thought. "No, not really. You're kidding, right? Twinkies and Meat? Just how desperate do you have to be to push high carb, high fat, all-sugar foods with no nutritional value?" Answer: that desperate.

Breakfast
1 Cup Heritage Flakes
1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
4 Slices Beef Jerky
12 oz. Decaf Coffee

Lunch: Russo's ($5.29)
Romaine, Red Leaf, Red Pepper, Red Onion
Feta, Chicken, Broccoli, Mushrooms
Balsamic Vinegar

Dinner:
Lime Shrimp a la Emily
Green Beans
Avocado Salad

Dessert
1/3(4 Squares) of 1 Serving of Green & Black Chocolate (Espresso)

So it's hard for anyone to understand this if you haven't been to Russo's, but I'll try to explain (sorry my powers of charting and graphing are not up to par). One short-side end of the rectangular salad bar at Russo's is dedicated to three kinds of salad: iceberg, romaine and green leaf. The red leaf is at the very corner of the long side. At the other short-side end there is prepared foods like pasta salad and roasted vegetables which I never take because whether they are good for me or not they are VERY HEAVY and so must be avoided. The tin trays and plastic covers are stored at the same short-side end where the three lettuces are. That makes it an ideal place to START your salad at the salad bar. Now, I may have grown a little possessive. It does feel like MY salad bar. But if someone is filling up their tin tray with iceberg lettuce and I am taking some romaine, they shouldn't feel that I'm "busy" when I have clearly angled my body to read that I am "on line." (Since I am from New York I will have to translate that that means I was "in line.") This woman, had to make a slidy kind of bendy motion that to most onlookers, would have telegraphed that she was sliding PAST me to get to the beginning of the salad bar. In horror I said, "Hey you are cutting." Without looking at me (more proof she knew she WAS CUTTING, she said "I'm just getting salad." Note: she did not say "you weren't in line." I said "You still cut!" to the back of her head. She wasn't responding. I was out of luck. Luckily, there was plenty of chicken for both of us, or I am certain we would have come to blows.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Year 2, Day 269: After Four Days Off

No one finds it easy to go back to work after four and half days off, but the teachers at Ruby's school were awarded with yet ANOTHER day off. Unbelievably, they get the Monday after the four and half day holiday off for professional development. As I married to a teacher I respect the need for professional development, but come on! We parents have to work—we need our kids in school. On the plus side, I got to stay at home with both kids in the morning; then Ruby took Magnolia to school with me and got to see her old teachers! They could not believe how big she'd gotten. Then I dropped her off for a play date, and it was nearly 60 degrees out. I myself was glad to delay the inevitable return to work for a few hours.

Breakfast
Kashi/Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Coffee (new coffee maker)

Snack
1 Extra Smokey
5 Pieces of Beef Jerky

Lunch: Peter's Kitchen
Chicken Kebab Salad

Dinner:
Bacon Cheeseburger
Broccoli
Pickles

This was the morning we piloted a new coffeemaker. Now usually, one would be considered foolish for undertaking this important a test on so important a morning. But the fact is, it was on our to-do list and we just couldn't get to it until yesterday (Sunday). So, we really didn't have the time (or coffee) to waste by trying it out. It had to be a cold run. And it had to be Monday after Thanksgiving. It was risky, but it paid off in diamonds. It was a Cuisinart and I got it for a song at Linens 'n' Things since the one I went to buy was sold out and the hapless and tired clerk who answered the phone fessed up that she said they had them. So the manager, also hapless and tired (they had opened at 8AM that morning, which necessitated him getting there at 6, but it wasn't advertised so most normal people were sleeping) agreed to sell me the larger (and more extravagant 14-cup coffee maker for the price of the DISCOUNTED 10-cup one. I can count the times on no hands how often I have needed to brew 14 cups of coffee. Of course the cup size is a marketing ploy, but that's another story. It makes great coffee, and for the life of me I can't understand how it could make better coffee than a $28 Mr. Coffee machine since the only ingredients are the same: coffee and water.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Year 2, Day 268- Hardest Workout Ever

After spending all of Saturday feeling achy, I decided not to give in to both the old-ness and the Thanksigiving-to-Christmas inertia. I soldiered on to the gym, which was pretty empty (a telling sign). I did my 60 minutes and just barely completed six miles. It was quite hard, and several times I thought I was going to quit early. It wasn't so much that it was hard as I felt like different parts of me weren't going to make it. I spent most of mile three at 5.4 mph and did a lot of clock watching. Also, I went at an odd time, around 1:30 and hadn't really had a proper lunch so there was that. If you're doing a lot of clock and MPH watching at the gym, you probably aren't getting a good workout. That's not science, it's just something I think about when I'm at the gym. If I can be bored, I'm not working hard enough. But sometimes it's all you can do.

Breakfast
3.5 slices of Turkey Bacon
Two Hard Boiled Eggs
1 Slice Balthazar Bread
Coffee

Pre-Workout/Lunch-Snack
17 Crispy Wheat Thins
12 Cheese Crackers
A few bites of chicken soup
a few slices of chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken

Post-workout/Lunch-snack
6 oz plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons Super Chunky Peanut Butter
1 serving Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs
1 Handful almonds/Cashews
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn
2 slices toscano picante

Dinner
Steak Tips
Broccoli
Peppadews

Of course the worst Sunday night is the Sunday night after a week-long vacation, but the very next worst one after that is having to go back to work after five days off for Thanksgiving. One of the great things about kids is that they don't let you stay inside that anxiety-filled adult space for two long, with their calming shrieks and their distracting and charming breaking of your cherished personal belongings. But it's very helpful because sometimes it's the only thing that can get you off of focusing on the problem: you have to go to work tomorrow. Again. And then again after that.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Year 2, Day 267: Third Day Off

We got up this morning (Saturday) and knew we had to get everyone 1) fed and 2) on the road. This takes a lot of doing because we have a small house and there were seven additional people there, all of different skills and sizes. There was a lot of coming and going and going and coming and laughing and yelling and we were happy to be together but most of all grateful that it was warm enough to leave the door open because everyone is always getting so hot from the yelling and the cooking and the togetherness. Don't forget about the coffee, that's a factor too. Sitting around a communal table is a special feeling and one that nearly begs you to keep putting your hand in the middle for whatever it is—say another piece of a fritata or a Kashi cookie, for instance, even if you're not hungry or trying to be on a diet. It's almost like you're breaking the unspoken social contract, so heavy is the burden of expectation set upon your shoulders. So you give in, and you realize, it's good to be a part of the group, even if you have give up your ideals and eat a fibery, grain-laden, wood-pulpy, kashi cookie to do it.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
1 Small Banana
1 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Lunch:
Amy's Fritata (Egg, Chinese Greens, Red, Yellow Peppers)
Dessert Lunch:
2 bites of a Kashi Cookie
1 square of awful 100% dark chocolate.

Movie Treat:
Popcorn

Dinner
Flounder
Asparagus
Salad

On a whim, my brother-in-law and I went to see Casino Royale. Now no one ever mentions the 1967 version with David Niven, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen but it's out there, and I seem to remember, quite good and funny, though I haven't seen it since college days. I must say that aside from the popcorn, cold and bad for you, I enjoyed the hell out of that movie. I have not seen such an entertaining film in quite some time. I must say that it really stayed with me. It was smart, funny, scare and engaging. Plus did I mention the popcorn? I was really in the mood for a vat of popcorn, but sadly, this theatre only had the bags. I actually asked "is this the largest bag you have?" Needless to say, it was finished within 20 minutes of sitting down. I wondered, 'dare I get up for another one?' The thought of Ignatius Reilly and Detecto, and most importantly, the MI-6 agent, kept me in my seat.

Year 2, Day 266: Day After Thanksgiving

Even for a restrained-at-eating guy, I felt like I ate a lot, and even that was after three sets of tennis. Of course, whenever I work out or exercise I'm nearly always eating right afterwards so there's very often little in the way of saved calories there. But Dr. Oz (Oprah's Doctor, and author of "You on a Diet" says that once you create new muscle, it consumes a lot of calories, so you might just change your metabolism permanently if you can do that. Today, I again played three sets of tennis. I didn't keep track of the scores, but you can assume I lost any singles I played, but I played with Emily's sister Amy and we won in doubles. My brother-in-law helped me conclude that the new tennis racket I am playing with might in fact be the cause of my tennis elbow, so today I played with my old one, which has not been restrung since before Ruby was born (so at least six years, but maybe eight or nine). Last night I was icing and heating my arm so I could get one more day on the courts. Now that's dedication, isn't it? Or something stupider?

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Blueberries
1 Small Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Pretennis-Snack
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Lunch: Russo's ($6.05)
Red leaf, romaine, red pepper, mushrooms, olives
broccoli, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar.

Post Tennis Snack:
6 oz plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons Chunky Peanut Butter

Dinner
Chicken Breast
Chinese Greens
Cabbage Salad
1 Glass Red Wine

Dessert
Several squares of dark and milk chocolate.

Because our guests wanted to go to the New Balance outlet, I suggested we all go to Russo's which is nearby. We all had a great time and for the first time in history I got a Russo's salad on Saturday. Interestingly (only to me) the salad bar had a slightly different arrangement on Saturdays, with the chicken on the left hand side (if you're getting your tin & plastic over) instead of the right hand side. It was also in a smaller container (not a double wide, but a single). Though I spent six dollars on the salad, I had a feeling I would be splitting it with someone—and that was true, multiple people ended up eating it with me. At Russo's I also bought some chocolate bars—one 100% dark chocolate, that was nearly inedible at first, but after a while, kind of like the most pleasant tasting burnt-brown crayon. I shan't be buying that again.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Year 2, Day 265: Happy Thanksgiving

Though Emily and I did not venture South this year, like nearly all 20 years we have been together in Boston, instead, her sister and brother in law drove up and they made an organic turkey. Amazingly, we got to play nearly 3 hours of tennis this morning, which is great, because it raises your metabolism so that you might have the space for apple pie (baked for dessert). If only I hadn't been eating all day, that is. The first two sets I played I lost, despite having the advantage 3-0 in the opening set against my brother in-law. Sad to say that my tennis elbow was acting up again and soon I was in some real agony. You might think I'm telling tales, but the final score, 6-3, 6-0 really underlines the injury. Relaxing somewhat, we played a game of doubles against Emily and her sister, which we won handily, 6-2.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Coffee

Tennis Snackz
1 Kind Bar/Fruit & Nut
A few cashews/almonds

Lunch: Blue Ribbon
Burnt Ends
Pickles
Green Salad

Other Snack:
1 oz. Boston Lite Popcorn
Assorted tastes of Thanksgiving Dinner

Dinner
Turkey
Brussel Sprouts
Leeks
Pearl Onions in Balsamic Vinegar
Bites of: Candied Yam, Stuffing
1 Glass Red Wine

The whole thing about Thanksgiving (or any big holiday meal) is pretty much the same problem with the "All-You-Can-Eat" buffets. First, there is an EXPECTATION that you will eat too much. It's out there—it's an unspoken part of the holiday, right down to being included in advertising copy. I think it says something like "eating too much and falling asleep on the couch shouldn't just be on Thanksgiving." It's about their turkey-stuffing-cranberry sub, which I've never had, but know from experience that it can be delicious. Emily and I used to go to a place in Brookline (sigh) that's long gone called Pugsley's. At Pugsley's they made the best ever turkey-stuffing-cranberry sandwich on a soft bulkie roll. They made their own turkey, their own stuffing, it was heavenly. And something I suppose I'll never eat again, since I'm on the program and Pugsley's is no more. But overall it was a happy Thanksgiving. A splendid time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Year 2, Day 264: Pre Thanksgiving

Amazingly, I got up early and got to work out today. This was vital because I missed my workout on Sunday due to a previously-described raking injury. I did six miles on the elliptical, which the woman at the gym insisted was called a cross-trainer. The woman at the gym pointed to the label on the wipe board (yeah, like that proves ANYTHING) and it did in fact say X-TRA. But a brief search on the Internet (like that proves ANYTHING) reveals that all machines with arm and leg movements are generally called ellipticals, not cross-trainers, even if their purpose is cross-training. We really recognize the elliptical for its cardio value, not necessarily any cross-training, but nevertheless she was insistent and I felt silly, as I have never referred it to here in these hundreds of days as a cross-trainer.

Breakfast
Kashi
Heritage
Banana
Blueberries
Coffee

PostworkoutSnack
6 oz. Plain Yogurt
3 Tablespoons SC Peanut Butter

Lunch: Peter's Kitchen
Chicken Kebab with Feta

Dinner:
Salad
Pickles
Peppadews
Amy's Onion-Hamburger
A wee bit of blue ribbon BBQ
2 glasses red wine

Emily's sister and brother-in-law arrived and Emily immediately went out to play tennis. I stayed home with her sister Amy and the kids. It was kind of a nice night, so we all just hung around, trying to cram all of the food they brought, plus the organic turkey and the ice cream into our little refrigerator. It's at times like these that I wish I had a second refrigerator, but that would necessitate having a second house, because we don't have any room as it is. Luckily, the fridge shelves are nearly almost always padded with science projects-in-the-making that are really begging to be thrown away. Sometimes the tupperware has to be sacrificed since Emily and I have become too frail to wash old-chicken containers. With hard work, determination and clothespins-on-noses (a few of my favorite things) we made enough room for everything, and then we went to make dinner and had to do all kinds of acrobatics to reach things that had been unfortunately tucked away.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Year 2, Day 263: Nuts Are Satan's Candy

Feeling like a bit of slippage. It's wrong to demonize a food, but nuts are Satan's Candy. They just can't be resisted, and additionally, as I'm fond of saying (a quote from the South Beach doctor), "They're diet-busters." I was very fortunate that a coworker insisted on a brisk walk, though I once again found myself in the wrong shoes. I had my sneakers but neglected to change into them because I was in such a hurry to get outside. As usual, I followed this walk with an enormous salad from Peter's. My coworkers and I have determined that the salad is about 35% too big—yet I finish it every time. It's one of the few 'throw caution to the wind' moments I allow myself. So what, I'm eating too much salad.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean!
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Green Tea

Snack
4 Beef Jerky
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
1 Extra Smokey
25 Almonds

Lunch: Peter's Kitchen
Lettuce, carrots, cucumbers
chicken, feta, balsamic vinegar

Dinner
More Salad (with Tuna)
Emily's Cauliflower
Peppadews
2 Chicken Nuggets

Since we know that Thanksgiving and lots of relatives are coming tomorrow, we tried not to shop and then were forced to resort to the dreaded "Eat What's in the House" rule, leading to the eating of a sub-optimal dinner that we regarded lowly and enjoyed even less. One of the major changes I have noticed in my life is how I no longer get fussed about a bad dinner. It's still disappointing, but I now no longer seek solace in either a second dinner, or a large dessert.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Year 2, Day 262: Monday's Back

Not 100% recovered from my raking injury, but rather than stay at home and rest, I decide to get back to work since it is a merciful short week though there is much to do. I have been making hard-boiled eggs for the kids for breakfast, which is very easy because it requires no cooking, only timing. But Ruby has become to flummox me because she now only wants scrambled eggs, which I explain to her is a special order and costs more. Also, uneaten hard-boiled eggs can be recycled, into egg salad, but uneaten scrambled eggs just become compost.

Breakfast
2 Eggs (+1 Yolk)
1 Slice Balthazar Bread
Green Tea

Snack
1 Extra Smokey
2 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar
4 Slices Beef Jerky
25 Almonds

Lunch: Russo's ($5.27)
Red pepper, red leaf, red onion
mushrooms, broccoli, feta, chicken
balsamic vinegar

Dinner: Legal Seafoods
Oysters (6)
Shrimp Cocktail (3)
Salad with Feta
Grilled Mahi-Mahi
Broccoli with Cheese

It was a very big eating day. Though it wasn't a BAD eating day, there was a lot of volume. This mostly comes from returning to the office after a long absence (five days total) and nursing an injury, which makes you feel sorry for yourself, and therefore, reach for the almonds. Later that night I went out to dinner with my brother and a friend and we ordered appetizers in advance of my friend showing up. When he came, he told us he couldn't eat shellfish, so we had to eat all of his. I kept the order simple and clean, but it was 9:00 or so by the time we were finished. The desserts, while proffered, were refused, though I did have a cup of decaf and prayed it wouldn't keep me up all night. It didn't.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Year 2, Day 261: Raking Injury Strikes

Magnolia and I got up early this morning so I decided to take her to the supermarket. This turned out to be a good idea for two reasons. One, the pre-Thanksgiving crowd was gearing up and by the time I left the store, it started to feel the ground shaking from the number of ants crawling all over the crumb. There was a palpable nervous energy to the organic over-achievers that are shopping for ingredients so many days before Thanksgiving. We got out with our lives. Two, shortly after we got home, I was holding Magnolia so she could see out the door when I nearly collapsed from a muscle spasm, that I later realized was probably the result of improper raking techniques. Ruby, God bless her, agreed to peel all the carrots for the brisket and chicken soup while I laid on the ground, pondering my next step. Though I was upset to be laying in the foyer of my house unable to move, I was really bumming out about not going to the gym.

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Green Tea

Lunch (Need to eat)
2 Joy Sticks
1 Cheese Stick
1 oz. Popcorn

Post-Lunch Snack
Robert's Turkey Crumble
Lettuce
Diet Coke

Dinner
Brisket
Onions, Celery, Carrots

Felled by injury, I took to bed and therefore grabbed what I could and got into bed with an ice pack and some medication. After resting, I got up and ate some more. This was my first at home, non-Sunday work out in nearly a year, and I was very unhappy about it. The saving grace was that I knew my brother and sister-in-law were coming and there would be a lot of tennis this week—if I could get healthy by then. In my weakened condition I tried to 'punt' on the brisket, by using a crock-pot, and I have to say that in the most charitable sense, it needs work.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Year 2, Day 260: Home at Last

It was great to wake up at home. I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world (except possibly, at the gym, working off the fried pickles and beer). I made breakfast for the kids, and later that day turkey crumble for dinner. It was an all day love fest. That's what the first day home should be like, right?

Breakfast
Kashi Go Lean
Heritage Flakes
Banana
Blueberries
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Green Tea

Lunch:
Hamburger
Salad

Snack
Almonds/Cashews
4 oz 50% Jalapeno Cheddar

Dinner
Turkey Crumble
Romaine Lettuce

I tried to keep it light because I was feeling terribly guilty and heavy from three days of constant snacking, pork consumption and despite the advertised trust-building, rope-climbing, very little in the way of physical activity. Towards the end of the day, Ruby determined that it was a hoot and a holler for her to drive her little toy-car into a pile of leaves. Then a friend from the neighborhood showed up and all of a sudden every kid was lining up to take a ride in this little toy car (really like a two-year old's scoot-mobile) to flip into a big pile of leaves. I continued to rake endless piles of leaves in order to create a safety zone, but it was hard to keep up.